Paprika is the dash of red color that usually tops deviled eggs. It’s a spice that some cooks would consider more of a garnish than a powerful flavoring agent. However, paprika comes in three different types, each with its own tasty purpose.
Paprika is made from grinding varieties of dried mild red peppers. When purchasing paprika, there are three different types to choose from: sweet, hot or smoked. The differences are dependent upon the variety of the peppers. Sweet paprika may not be sweet or spicy, and is the typical type used when the recipe simply calls for “paprika.” It’s made from bright, sweet red peppers without any heat. Use it to add color or a mild peppery flavor to a dish. Hot paprika is made with spicy varieties of peppers and packs the heat. If you don’t have hot paprika on hand, cayenne pepper may do the trick. Smoked paprika is made from peppers that are dried by way of smoking. It imparts a smoky flavor to the dish that may or may not add a spicy heat as well.
In addition, to sweet, hot or smoked, you may come across the spice labeled Hungarian or Spanish. These can range from sweet to hot and can be smoked as well. Read the label to understand the flavor profile. Note that substituting one type of paprika for another will yield very different results than the recipe intends. Store paprika with other dried spices in a dark, cook place without heat or moisture. Spices stored in a cabinet above the stove or dishwasher will likely lose their flavor fast. Make room in the pantry for all types of paprika.
Smoky Mustard Maple Salmon
3 tablespoons whole grain or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
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¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
4 (4 ounce) salmon fillets
Wash hands with soap and water, and preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Combine mustard, syrup, smoked paprika, pepper and salt in a small bowl. Place salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet; wash hands with soap and water after touching raw salmon. Spread the mustard mixture evenly over salmon. Bake until salmon reaches at least 145 measured by a food thermometer.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 148 calories, 4 grams fat, 276 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 23 grams protein
Source: USDA ChooseMyPlate
Smith is nutrition and wellness educator for the University of Illinois Extension, McLean County. Contact her at 309-663-8306.